Another lost season of New York football at least has a chance to turn into an exciting spring. Free agency always offers hope for the future. So does the NFL draft.
And as of right now, both the Giants (2-8) and Jets (3-7) are in position for a Top 5 draft pick. The way their seasons are going it feels like they'll be locks to both draft in the Top 10, at least. And they both still have a shot at picking No. 1.
So consider them both to be in the chase for Chase Young, the Ohio State edge rusher that both so desperately need, and whom scouts have been drooling over since the college football season started. Young is likely to be the first non-quarterback off the board. And if not him, then perhaps Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas -- another player both New York teams could use.
There'll be other potentially elite help available too, depending on how high the Giants and Jets can pick. Staying near the top, though, will take a lot more losing and they'll still need the help of some truly awful teams.
Here's a look at some of the teams currently vying for the top of the draft, and what they're facing down the stretch (with remaining strength of schedules via Tankathon.com):
1) Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)
They have the NFL's worst defense, an offense that has scored more than 17 points just twice all season, and now they're starting a rookie quarterback (Ryan Finley) who's probably a stopgap for the QB they take in the 2020 draft. They've got it pretty easy the rest of the way, though. Two games against the Browns (4-6), a home game against the Jets (3-7), and a trip to Miami (2-8). (Remaining Strength of Schedule: .450, 22nd in NFL)
2) Washington Redskins (1-9)
Before breaking through in the fourth quarter against the Jets, the 'Skins had gone 16 straight quarters without a touchdown. Five times in the last seven weeks they've failed to score even 10 points. Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins has often looked lost. And it's worth noting they've lost to the two awful New York teams by a combined score of 58-20. Only a one-point win over the Dolphins might prevent what could've been an 0-16 season. They're that bad. (Remaining SoS: .492, 19th)
3) GIANTS (2-8)
They've been fairly competitive, at least, and shown they can move the ball behind rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Their defense has given up 27 or more points in each of the last six games, and 31 or more in each of the last three. They have the second-easiest remaining schedule of the contenders for the No. 1 pick, and remaining games against the 'Skins (1-9) and Dolphins (2-8) should be enough to ruin their draft dreams. (Remaining SoS: .417, 28th)
4) Miami Dolphins (2-8)
They were all in on "Tanking for Tua" until they beat the Jets and Colts in successive week. That's what Ryan FitzMagic can do for you. And that might not be the last of their winning either. They have the easiest remaining schedule among the top pick contenders, and the third-easiest remaining schedule in the league, with the winless Bengals and the two awful New York teams still on their slate. (Remaining SoS: .383, 30th)
5) JETS (3-7)
Two wins in a row and franchise quarterback Sam Darnold is starting to play well, which means their dreams of Young are over, right? Well, keep in mind they've only beaten the Giants and Redskins the last two weeks, and they still have plenty of issues along the offensive line and more than their fair share of injuries. Their Achilles heel in this chase might be this: They have the No. 1 run defense in the NFL. That'll help them win a few more. (Remaining SoS: .467, 20th)
6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
A surprise entrant to the Top 10 race, especially considering they have the NFL's sixth-best offense. But that's what happens when you've got an erratic quarterback (Jameis Winston) who has thrown 18 interceptions through 10 games. They've got it pretty easy down the stretch, though those two games against the Falcons (3-7) may not be as easy as they looked a couple of weeks ago. (Remaining SoS: .425, 26th)
7) Denver Broncos (3-7)
They were anemic under quarterback Joe Flacco and now just as bad with Brandon Allen at the helm, and they're probably demoralized after they choked away a big lead at Minnesota on Sunday. This team has completely wasted a terrific defense that ranks fourth overall in the NFL. That should be good enough for a few wins down he stretch, but their schedule is really, really tough (Remaining SoS: .542, 12th)
8) Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
They were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL when they headed into their bye week at 1-7. No one was sure Dan Quinn would even come out of it with his job. Then, the last two weeks they won 26-9 in New Orleans and 29-3 in Carolina. Huh? They get both of them again in the next three weeks, but this time at home. Who knows what to expect from this team. (Remaining SoS: .533, 14th).
9) Arizona Cadinals (3-7-1)
A bad defense and a rookie quarterback is never a good combination, but the QB (No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray) is showing a lot of promise and the Cards have scored 25 points or more in six of their last seven games. The good news for them -- if they want a high pick-- is no one on this list faces a tougher remaining schedule. When they come back from their bye, the only "easy" game they face is against the Browns (4-6). (Remaining SoS: .580, 5th)
10) Detroit Lions (3-6-1)
The back injury that could cost them quarterback Matt Stafford for the rest of the season certainly puts them in a precarious position, although they did score 27 against the Cowboys on Sunday behind Jeff Driskel. And their next game is against the Redskins, so that should be a win. Their schedule overall is pretty soft, but without Stafford they should hang around the Top 10. (Remaining SoS: .443, 25th).